Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has informed Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez that state Rep. Daniel Patterson was an independent at the time of his resignation yesterday, so the seat is supposed to go to an independent.
Patterson, who was elected as a Democrat, changed his registration to independent as the walls closed in on him at the Capitol. He re-registered as Democrat yesterday, but Bennett says the registration wasn't recorded until 2:01 p.m. and the resignation was effective at 1:36 p.m., so Patterson was technically an independent.
But Bennett left the door open for a lawsuit on the matter.
"My office is bound to follow the statutes precisely," Bennett wrote to Valadez. "However, I would welcome a judicial resolution to his matter should one arise."
Pima County Democratic Party chairman Jeff Rogers told The Range this morning that a lawsuit is possible, although he had not seen Bennett's letter when we spoke to him.
There's a question of whether it's really worth a lawsuit, given that the session is nearly over, the district will have new boundaries in the election later this year, and Republicans now hold such a commanding advantage in the House that one more Democratic vote is unlikely to make much of a difference with the business that's left to be resolved this year.